Formula One’s new era got underway with four days of testing at Jerez (to be followed by two more four-day sessions in Bahrain next month) with teams trying out their new cars and the 2014 tyres for the first time.
With such a revolutionary series of technical changes, running was considerably limited compared to last year, and very little tyre work was carried out.
Nonetheless, the teams were able to have their first taste of Pirelli’s 2014 tyre range, which features new compounds and constructions. The teams could also try out the new Cinturato Green intermediate and Cinturato Blue wet on the second day, which was designated as a wet-weather test day. More rain then fell on Friday, providing another opportunity.
Pirelli additionally brought a bespoke ‘winter’ version of the hard tyre to Jerez, designed to enable teams to maximise running even in low ambient temperatures (which dipped down to six degrees centigrade).
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director:
“The emphasis was not on tyres during this test: instead the teams were simply trying to get an understanding of this radical new set of regulations and put the first kilometers onto their cars. With so much to understand about the new power units and aerodynamic rules, the teams aimed simply to increase their knowledge about the cars. The upcoming tests in Bahrain should allow them to focus on tyres a little more, having had two weeks to develop their cars and remedy any issues that have been identified at Jerez. We too are completely open, flexible and ready to adapt our tyres should the tests in Bahrain, where more meaningful running will take place, identify any need to do so. This year’s test regulations stipulate a day of wet weather running, which we were able to carry out on Wednesday morning. With more rain falling on Friday, the teams had the opportunity to try out the wet-weather compounds before using them in race conditions.”
The opening day of running was extremely quiet, with just 93 laps completed from eight drivers and cars on Tuesday. The on-track action then ramped up, with teams attempting longer runs. The final day was the busiest day of the test, with 688 laps completed.
Teams had a maximum of 25 sets of tyres each at their disposal for Jerez. In total, 18 of those sets were selected by Pirelli (six ‘winter’, four hard, two medium, and three each of intermediate and wet). The teams were then allowed to choose in advance seven more sets of tyres to test per car, up to their total maximum of 25. In total, 135 sets of tyres are allowed per team for testing purposes throughout 2014.
Owing to the huge number of new variables at work, and the very wide spread of lap times seen throughout the four days, there was no real significance in the time difference between the compounds that were tested at Jerez. More meaningful tyre data should be seen in Bahrain, with all the teams expected to be present.